Thursday, August 19, 2021

Vertical Aviation Technologies, Hummingbird 260L, N777TC: Accident occurred August 18, 2021 in Livingston, Overton County, Tennessee

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident. 

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Nashville, Tennessee

Location: Livingston, Tennessee
Accident Number: ERA21LA335
Date and Time: August 18, 2021, 18:50 Local 
Registration: N777TC
Aircraft: Hummer 260L
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

On August 18, 2021, about 1850 central daylight time, an experimental, amateur-built Hummer 260L helicopter, N777TC, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Livingston, Tennessee. The private pilot and pilot-rated passenger were not injured. The helicopter was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

The pilot stated that the flight was initiated from Livingston Municipal Airport (8A3) with an adequate supply of fuel. After warming the engine, he lifted the helicopter to a hover, hover taxied, ground taxied, and practiced setting down and lifting-up to a hover for about 10 to 15 minutes, with no engine issues. He then intended to depart 8A3 to fly in the airport traffic pattern. He started to takeoff and between 100 to 150 ft above ground level (agl) passing thru effective translational lift between 40 and 50 knots, the helicopter experienced a sudden complete loss of engine power. The pilot lowered the collective, reduced the throttle and entered an autorotation. When the helicopter was at 70-75 ft agl and 50 knots, the engine power increased. The pilot increased the throttle and the engine power increased to full rpm; but as he increased collective, the engine “sputtered and quit instantly.”  The pilot lowered the collective; however, there was not enough inertia in the main rotor blades for a normal autorotative landing. The helicopter landed hard on soft wet terrain and bounced. The helicopter’s wheels separated, it rolled over to the right, and the main rotor blades impacted the ground. The pilot further stated that the auxiliary fuel pump was on for the takeoff.

The main rotor, tail rotor, and two of the three landing gears were substantially damaged. The helicopter was retained for further examination.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Hummer
Registration: N777TC
Model/Series: 260L
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Amateur Built: Yes
Operator: On file 
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: VMC
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: SRB,1024 ft msl 
Observation Time: 18:55 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 24 Nautical Miles 
Temperature/Dew Point: 24°C /23°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: 
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: / ,
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 10000 ft AGL 
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.14 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Livingston, TN 
Destination: Livingston, TN

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None 
Latitude, Longitude: 36.416973,-85.30512 (est)

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